Soon, very soon, you will be shutting down your computer and you will be gone... gone fishing, beaching, golfing or relaxing in your backyard oasis in the city. Even if you are just like me and love your job, I bet that you are counting down the sleeps...
Stop! Stop daydreaming about your biggest fish "everrr," your feet in the water, your hole in one or your hammock.
Before you go into vacation mode, avoid sticky situations by preparing for your departure and your return with this countdown, based on the acronym V.A.C.A.T.I.O.N.E.R.
Two weeks before your vacation
V-alidate with your superior your list of projects and tasks, as well as the support person to be contacted in your absence. While you're at it, clarify communication expectations. Are you expected to check in every couple of days? Should you answer your phone during business hours? What about emails? Or can you completely disconnect and relax?
A-nnounce the exact dates of your holidays to your clients and colleagues. Nobody likes to have that kind of a surprise at the last minute. Add that you will update them a few days before you leave.
A week before your vacation
C-ompile the list of things you need to complete, before putting the key in your file cabinet. Keep it in full view. I am a big fan of a simple piece of paper to give me a very concrete vision of what I need to do. Check off each task as it is finished. I know, there are electronic applications that can also help you stay on top of your to-do list, but personally I just love checking off my list. Sense of accomplishment guaranteed, one check mark at a time. Done! Check! Next! Yeay, all done!
A-pprise, as promised, your customers and colleagues on the status of your deliverables. With a full week's notice before your vacation, you still have time to adjust, if necessary. Take this opportunity to also inform them of the assigned person to cover your role, with their full contact information. If they are not acquainted, make a virtual introduction.
T-ake no commitment for the last day before your vacation nor the first day of your return, if possible of course. Use these days to get organized, review your projects and your calendar after you return. Plus, go on an office tour to update your team members.
Two days before your vacation
I-nitiate a meeting with the one that will be acting as the emergency contact. Meet him in person, in your office. Show him where everything is -- your files, your supplies, as well as the instruction manuals for your gadgets. If necessary, give him your passwords. You can always change them when you get back. Another option is to give these codes to your boss or to your human resources department.
O-rchestrate the synching of your devices and saving the contents of your computer to the company's server, the cloud or your hard drive. This is a definite must. Make sure to put this crucial step on your to-do list. But before you save all your precious work, go to your inbox to classify your emails and clear all your downloads. While you're at it, take a few extra minutes to unsubscribe to newsletters that are no longer useful to you. Thus, you will decrease the number of emails that will be awaiting your return. Clean and organize your workspace, too. Neat and tidy, even in your absence, your office will broadcast professionalism. As a bonus, you will walk in to a welcoming and energizing space, on your return.
On your last day before your vacation
N-ever ever, I insist, succumb to the temptation of wearing your new vacation outfit. No flip-flops, no "On vacation" t-shirts, nor sunglasses on your head. Click here for my list of what not to wear at the office.
E-xpress your out-of-office status on your voicemail and in your email auto-reply. Be clear and concise, avoid cute and clever. Here's what to say and write. A small sign for your door, or wall, is also a good idea.
On your first day back from your vacation
R-eturn with a thank you goodie for the one who replaced you. This could be a jar of your homemade jam or a box of summer coloured candies. At a minimum, be sure to write him a thank you note. "Why Julie?" you ask. Here's why, in this gratitude post.
Enjoy making summer memories with those you love and don't forget your vacation tipping guide.
You have a sticky situation? This is your forum. Write to Julie and she will reply promptly. Want more solutions? Go to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Need a speaker or workshop leader? Julie travels. No time for training? Order autographed copies of Etiquette: Confidence & Credibility. Hiring Julie is the best Return On Investment that you will ever make, for your reputation.
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